Wing Chun Knife Form - Bart Cham Dao
Article by Dan Knight added on 24 Jul 2012. Last updated on 1 Apr 2014.
Eight cutting blades or Bart Cham Dao
The Wing Chun Butterfly Knife Form
The Bart Cham Dao sometimes called Batt Jam Dao literally means eight cutting knives. Baat is the number 8, Cham is to cut or slash and Dao refers to a single edged blade like a knife or sword. This is usually the final form taught to a Wing Chun Student. Ip Man only taught a hand full (seven) of students this form in his entire life. Ip Man is said to have learned the form off of Leung Bik.
The form has 8 sections. Many people mistakenly believe this is where the forms name comes from. However the eight actually refers to the number of different angles the blade cuts through whilst performing the techniques in the form. Hence the name "eight cutting blade".
Obviously the form teaches the Wing Chun student how to use a pair of Butterfly Dao (knives/swords). Butterfly knives are often confused with Bulls Ears swords. They look very similar however the difference in the handle of the weapon will dramatically reduce the functionality of a Bulls Ear sword compared to a pair Butterfly Knives.
Initially a student may ask "Although it may be fun to learn, and nice from traditional perspective, why should I learn the Bart Cham Dao in this day and age? I am never going to use it in the practical sense." So what else does learning the Bart Cham Dao help with?
Perhaps most importantly it reinforces the underlying Wing Chun principles seen in the other hand forms, for instance economy of motion, deflection etc. It will also teach the practitioner a new type of stepping that can be used in certain situations. Furthermore as an added bonus learning the Bart Cham Dao will drastically improve wrist strength if trained properly and regularly.
Furthermore because the knives used in the form are not as big as traditional Chinese swords the techniques translate well into improvised weapons you may find in a modern lifestyle.
Before the Bart Cham Dao can be learned it is very important to have a solid grasp of all the other hand forms first. This is because, amongst other things, the stepping in the Bart Cham Dao is not effective without the stepping from the second and third hand forms (Chum Kiu and Biu Gee). The system is designed to grow from the Sil Lim Tao to Bart Cham Dao and it is not wise to try and miss sections or rush through.
The Wing Chun knife form video clip
The below video shows Samuel Kwok performing some of the Bart Cham Dao form at the World Wing Chun Conference.
Samuel Kwok performing some of the Bart Cham Dao form at the World Conference.